Pasta with Easy Tomato Sauce
This is one of those go-to meals that are great for when you really don’t feel like cooking. And it relies mostly on your pantry. Pasta and a can of pureed tomatoes come together in the time that it takes the pasta to cook for a quick and easy dinner.
I stock up on pasta and canned tomatoes when they are on sale as both ingredients have long shelf lives and are so versatile.
This non-recipe includes a package of pasta, a 28-ounce can of pureed tomatoes, some olive oil, dried basil, salt, and a couple of cloves of fresh garlic. That’s it. Seriously. And it’s one of my favorite ways to eat pasta.
Pull out a one-pound package of your favorite pasta as you bring a large pot of well-seasoned water to a boil. Check out how long it takes the pasta to cook and subtract 1 – 2 minutes from it. When using quick-cooking pasta like capellini, start with the sauce early enough before you drop the pasta in the water to ensure that it doesn’t get overcooked.
The sauce: heat some olive oil in a large pan (it’s going to have to hold all of that pasta) over medium heat and add in a couple of cloves of minced garlic. Cook for a minute or two before adding in the can of pureed tomatoes. Stir to combine and turn the heat down to medium-low.
This is when I pour the pasta in the water, giving the sauce a few minutes to cook and meld flavors. Add the basil just before adding the pasta. I usually add a tablespoon or two of dried, or more if I have fresh on hand.
About a minute or two before the pasta is done to your preference (which should be al dente, if I have any say in it), pull it straight from the pot and put it into the sauce, taking any of the pasta water with it. I typically use either tongs or large slotted spoons to do this. Alternatively, you can pull out a large cup or two of pasta water to reserve and then drain the pasta in a colander.
Finish cooking the pasta in the tomato sauce, adding more pasta water as needed, until the pasta is the perfect al dente. Finishing the cooking in the sauce allows some of the sauce to cook into the pasta so it is more flavorful. Adjust the salt level as needed.
Serve with a salad and you have a complete meal in about the time printed on your favorite box of pasta. Enjoy!